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2018 WSOP Sets Records as Largest Poker Festival in History

The 49th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, Nevada was the largest poker tournament event ever held, both in terms of attendance and prizes paid.

Over the course of 50 days spanning May 30 through July 18, the 2018 WSOP hosted 78 tournaments with a gold bracelet on the line. That ambitious schedule attracted 123,865 entries and reentries across the board, setting a new WSOP standard while exceeding last year’s previous record high by 2.4 percent.

In fact, per WSOP.com editor-in-chief Seth Palansky, 2018 marks the sixth straight year of series attendance growth, and two years in a row with more than 120,000 entries.

Ty Stewart – who serves as executive director of the WSOP – added his take on the successful summer to the aforementioned statement:

“The 2018 World Series of Poker was another big success and it’s thanks to the loyal players that make it out to Las Vegas every summer.

We love seeing the Main Event grow to numbers no one ever thought was possible in 2018 as well as positive reaction to our new events.

The team will be hard at work to make sure this remains the premier poker festival in the world.”

The record-setting attendance created a combined prize pool of $266,889,193 across the 78 events. By summer’s end, 18,105 unique players pocketed payouts ranging from a few hundred dollars to the WSOP’s top prize – $10 million for winning the Big One for One Drop High Roller.

That enormous haul was claimed by Justin Bonomo, perhaps the best tournament player on the planet at the moment. Bonomo has collected nearly $25 million in tournament winnings through the first seven months of 2018, and his win in the One Drop pushed him into first place on the all-time tournament earnings list with $42.9 million.

But while Bonomo battled against just 26 opponents, John Cynn – a 33-year old tournament grinder based in Indianapolis – defeated a field of 7,874 unique entrants to win the 2018 WSOP Main Event. The most prestigious poker tournament of them all became the second-largest in history, trailing only the 2006 edition with 8,773 entries, and Cynn’s reward for vanquishing the field was $8.8 million.

The win was a moment of redemption for Cynn, after he fell agonizingly short of reaching the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table with an 11th place run.

But while Cynn was able to parlay his $10,000 buy-in into $8.8 million, 74 other gold bracelet winners took home an average first-prize payout of $655,337.

Three decorated pros – Joe Cada, Shaun Deeb, and Bonomo – added to their respective trophy cases by winning two bracelets apiece.

Cada, who is best known for winning the 2009 WSOP Main Event, bagged his third career bracelet early in Event #3: $3,000 No Limit Hold’em (Shootout). The Michigan native then went on to a fifth-place finish in the Main Event, becoming the first World Champion of the Moneymaker Era (post-2003) to make the final table for a second time. Before the summer was over, however, Cada earned his fourth bracelet by winning Event #75: No Limit Hold’em “The Closer.”

Bonomo continued his torrid 2018 run by taking down Event #16: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em (Heads-Up), before going on to close the summer with his third career bracelet via the One Drop victory.

Shaun Deeb won Event #42: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller and Event #74: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship, doubling his career bracelet count to four.

For a full rundown of key statistics from the record-setting 2018 WSOP, see the table below:

2018 WSOP by the Numbers

Official WSOP Gold Bracelet Events: 78

Total Entries: 123,865

Total Prize Pool: $266,889,193

Total Cashers: 18,105

Main Event Entries: 7,874

Main Event Prize Pool: $74,015,600

Largest 1st Place Prize: $10,000,000 (Event #78)

Average 1st Place Prize: $655,337

Average Field Size: 1,588 entries per event

Average Age: 42.27 (Male average: 42.1; Female average: 45.64)

Male Participation: 95.14% (111,837 entries)

Female Participation: 4.86% (5,717 entries)

# of Countries Represented: 104

# of U.S. States Represented: 50 + District of Columbia